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Apparel & Footwear

Brands that embrace a balanced approach to both commercial and social interests will be the leading brands of the future.

Speed, responsiveness and a deep understanding of consumer behavior have always posed challenges and opportunities in the apparel and footwear industries. These challenges are made even more complex by ongoing geo-political events, the online marketplace and direct conversations between consumers and companies through social media. Together these forces necessitate a new sustainability and responsible sourcing paradigm; one built on the foundations of transparency, quality and trust.

Audits remain a vital compliance monitoring tool

In 2016, ELEVATE conducted over 4,500 social and environmental audits for the apparel and footwear sectors. This included in established manufacturing markets of China, India, Bangladesh, and Vietnam as well as in Europe and emerging geographies such as Myanmar, Ethiopia and Kenya. All of these audits are based on rigorous quality and ethics protocols. We believe our work with factories in these sectors has positively impacted the lives of over 3 million workers in 2016 alone. Our work provides valuable insights that effect business change as well as positive social and environmental impacts.

Worker engagement provides additional insight

ELEVATE is an industry leader in the development and deployment of worker engagement tools including worker surveys. Each year we conduct hundreds of worker surveys that collect the viewpoints of thousands of workers. These engagements draw on our deep understanding of the business context, in-country knowledge of worker concerns and culture as well as the practical use of technology most relevant in each location. Our worker engagement processes support wider engagement with supervisors, managers and customers to agree on pragmatic solutions that address root causes.

“A worker survey is just another source of insight; the value it provides is when you identify actionable next steps that address worker concerns and improve business performance in a tangible way. We’ve seen the most dramatic improvements come from simply asking the right questions to the right groups of people.” – Former VP Capacity Building

Building and fire safety

ELEVATE understands that a fundamental challenge to improving global labor conditions is often a lack of government and civil society capacity. It is for this reason that international development and industry led projects are fundamental to supporting sustained change in ways that go-beyond what individual companies might achieve.

We support this trend through our work on multi-stakeholder development engagements such as the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety to address building and fire safety following tragedies at the Rana Plaza and Tazreen factories in Bangladesh. Between 2013 – 2018, ELEVATE worked as a strategic partner to the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety. Together we have supported industry leaders, local government representatives, brands and factories to achieve unprecedented positive impacts.

ELEVATE’s qualified engineers carry out technical assessments of factory buildings to detect life safety hazards due to structural integrity, fire and electrical safety. These teams recommend remedial measures to protect workers, facilities, and communities in Bangladesh and neighboring countries.

Services performed by our registered engineers:

  • Structural integrity assessments
  • Electrical safety assessments
  • Fire and safety assessments
  • Detailed engineering analyses
  • eLearning and technical training seminars

These technical services include document reviews, factory inspections, corrective action plans, supervision of remediation, and follow up inspections by qualified structural, electrical and fire safety engineers.


View the ELEVATE Responsible Sourcing Standard